Zen (Chan)

The meditation (dhyana) school originating in China that emphasizes "mind-to-mind transmission"
  • Tricycle Community 4 comments

    Back to Basics: Why Do We Bow? Paid Member

    Many people have this question the minute they walk into the zendo and are told to make full prostrations to the Buddha image on the altar. They come with an idea that Zen is beyond words and letters, beyond religion, beyond rules, beyond piety, and so the idea of such a thorough-going and outrageous display of what seems like religious fervor seems quite disturbing to them. So why do we bow? I had this same question myself in the beginning of my practice. My teacher at the time took me up to the altar and let me look closely at the tiny Buddha there. He pointed out to me that the little Buddha was also bowing. So I was bowing to the Buddha and the Buddha was bowing to me. “If he can do it you can do it,” he said. I thought that was fair enough. More »
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    Agent of Change: An Interview with bell hooks Paid Member

    bell hooks is a seeker, a feminist, a social critic, and a prolific writer. Her books include "Ain't I a Woman?": Black Women and Feminism; Talking Back: Thinking Feminist, Thinking Black; Breaking Bread: Insurgent Black Intellectual Life (with Cornel West); and, most recently Black Looks all from Southend Press. She was born Gloria Watkins forty years ago in Hopkinsville, Kentucky, and was educated at Stanford and Yale. Currently she teaches English and Women's Studies at Oberlin College in Ohio. This interview was conducted for Tricycle by editor Helen Tworkov. Tricycle: What was your first exposure to Buddhism? More »
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    Driving Me Crazy Paid Member

    My FIRST TRIP to the Okayama Driver's License Test Building had been spent mainly helping the clerk do an analysis of my passport, enumerating the countries I'd visited, the dates I had gone in and out of the U.S., and so forth. The stopover in Hawaii for an hour on the way to Taiwan three years previously was properly noted. The space of time between the Taiwan trip and my arrival date in Japan was marked down. My month in Thailand and the side trip to Malaysia, as well as the times of visa extensions in Japan, were not neglected. It was a curious procedure. This was local government, not Immigration, and I really did not get the point. But mine was not to reason why. More »
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    Competing With The Incomparable Paid Member

    When comparing yourself with others, do you usually find that you compare favorably or unfavorably? If you compare favorably, do you feel proud? If you compare unfavorably, do you feel devastated? Either of these reactions will keep you from seeing things as they are. If you are feeling competitive, the real question is, Who is it who compares? Don’t repress this feeling or tell yourself how bad it is, but study it as a foolish trait for which you have some affection. Master Dogen, the thirteenth-century founder of Soto Zen in Japan, was asked by a student, “What should you do if you find yourself in an argument? Should you try to win the argument or should you concede, even though you feel you’re right?” Dogen advised neither path. Become disinterested, he told the student, and the argument will lose its energy. The same advice can be applied to feelings of competitiveness in practice: Let go of your attachment to appearances of one who wins or has “got it right.” More »
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    Rising to the Challenge: Filling the Well with Snow Paid Member

    We have this challenge right now: As we practice in these dangerous times, how can we be at peace? How can we become a source of compassion, and let our lives be a clear expression of wisdom? I find that so many of the traditional teachings are suddenly hitting home in fresh ways, as if they were designed for this particular moment in history. When we chant the evening gatha—the traditional verse that closes the day of training—it seems as if the ancient teachers had gathered that very day to write these words: Let me respectfully remind you:Life and death are of supreme importance.Time swiftly passes by and opportunity is lost.Each of us should strive to awaken. Awaken!Take heed—do not squander your life. More »